What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Professor is a Genius

Before the Christmas non-denominational winter break, my philosophy professor challenged me, as part of his "Intro to Worldviews" class, to be more aware of the subtle contradictions and inconsistencies of modern philosophies we discussed in class. I filed that challenge away long before finals, and let it sit undisturbed in my gray matter while I stuffed my face with fudge, pie and Christmas cookies.

Fast-forward 2 weeks to Boxing Day. You know, the day after Christmas. My grandma and Aunt Sue celebrate this joyous holiday by elbowing and/or stampeding the people in front of them in line for the super-amazing-day-after-Christmas sales.

I got into an argument with my cousin Devon, a 5th year senior, about who should get to play "Call of Duty 5: World at War" first. It occurred to me that Devon was a moral relativist. We'd had long conversations about the subject in the past, and although I'd tried to point out his misguided thoughts, we never got to an agreement.

At that moment, I had an epiphany. I remembered the charge my professor had given me. I grabbed the game controller out of my cousin's greedy hands and proceeded to start my own game. My cousin's jaw made an interesting thud as it hit the floor. "You… you can’t do that!"

With my best innocent voice, I replied, "Why not?"

"Because," he stammered, "you can’t!"

"Why not?" I was enjoying this too much.

"Because it's… it's…" He seemed to have a lump of confusion and defeat in his throat.


"No… because…." He walked away scratching his head. I'd caught him with his own "no right or wrong" trap. With a victorious smirk, I enjoyed the solitude my cousin had left in his wake.

Maybe I should pay more attention in class.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

White Boy at the Black Sorority Meeting (part two)

Continued from part 1

This is the second installation in a two-part FCeriseN (because that's the only letter that will make a soft "S" sound). To get caught up, go back and read part one or check out the spark note version in the next paragraph. Good choice; I was going to go with the spark notes too.

In part one (you have yet another chance to click the link!), Reginald decided that my social life needed a hormone injection and decided to bring me to the epicenter of ethnic and estrogen pride (the social equivalents of diethylhexyl and polyisobutylene, click here if you're not a nerd. Gotcha! You can actually read the explained joke here, but then again "a joke explained is a joke disdained"). Reginald took me to a local spring of vivacious ethnically secure females: a meeting of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. I had just made contact when the FCN post-size limit was enforced and I had to split my tome into two parts (send complaints here).

Did I mention that Reginald is buff? His chest and arms are sculpted and toned like a Greek god. His work on his body had rendered his torso a piece of work. My physique -- detailed now and again on these illustrative pages -- has the appeal of a slightly masticated worm, albeit with some definition in its pectoralis major. Yes, that is definition. Sometimes definition looks like flab when it gets tired of being defined all the time. No, I do not need any additional articles of clothing to support my pectoralis. Thank you for offering. Neither do I appreciate that your subtle insinuations are slowly eroding my tender body image. Stop it, please. People like you are why I need to spend thousands of dollars on professional psychological therapy. Next to Reginald, I admit, I look like a pre-pubescent youth with post-pubescent pecs; an overgrown schoolboy, who's biceps have yet to catch up with his imagination.

I don't know why I just described myself that way. It's really very unflattering. For me it creates a feeling similar to what Heidi Montag must feel when she opens the National Enquirer: "That's not true; how awful of them to print that." Except in Heidi's case, she has invited the criticism by prancing around the known world in just slightly more clothing than a chimpanzee would wear at the zoo. And in my case, I wrote the unflattering comments about myself. Actually, now that I think about it, the two feelings are completely dissimilar, but I was able to mention Heidi Montag, so perhaps it was worth it. In fact, these last two paragraphs were an entirely unnecessary self-effacement. It's also something I'll have to bring up with my therapist.

So, back at the black sorority meeting, I was struggling to come up with something to talk about. Buff Reginald flitted around with an elusive social grace, twittering with the fairer sex and returning their bavarderie like Roger Federer returns tennis balls, minus the spin and long hair. At first I tried to be still and look innocent, but that never works. Then I tried to be invisible. I imagined I was a character from Tolkien, sliding my finger into a ring and disappearing. Someone asked me if I was okay, so I stopped doing that.

That's when the food arrived. I may not always be the greatest people person, but I'm a great food person. You throw me a plate with a little grub -- nothing fancy, mind you; I intend to survive almost exclusively on microwave victuals if my love life continues at its laggard pace -- and I am occupied like a toddler with an abacus.

Sometime when I was eating, a woman named "Natasha" started talking to me. I happened to know that her name meant "birthday" -- just something I read somewhere when I should have been doing something else -- and the news surprised her! How can you have a name and not know the meaning of it? What if you were named something terrible like "milktoast" or "hebetudinous"? Wouldn't you want to know so you could skedaddle down to the courthouse and get that changed? Other names I turned down after discovering their meanings were "daft," "torpid" and "banana." "Hebetudinous" was on my shortlist for a firstborn until I found out what it meant, now it takes a back burner -- well behind "milktoast."

Natasha makes a lot of sense for a name, since most people are named on their birthday. It's a wonder more people aren't named that. Natasha must have appreciated my insight because she laughed and we started talking.

Long story abbreviated, I met a bunch of Natasha's friends, all AKA members. They all wanted to know what their names meant, so I made some terms up and tried not to offend people. Just when I was nearing the end of my line of jokes (it doesn't take very long), the music came on. It was Lady GaGa's "Just Dance." And so we started dancing.

Just so everyone knows. I am an expert at dancing. It's like I've been dancing -- seriously dancing -- ever since I watched a particular video on YouTube. Not Evolution of Dance, silly. 100 million people have seen that. It's so unoriginal. I saw a 3 minute video that gives a whole bunch of new moves. And less than a million people have seen it, which makes me, you know, one in a million. Now I am sharing it with you. Here it is:

My personal favorite is the "Wii remote," but I've got most of the moves down pat. And let me tell you what, they were a hit at the AKA sorority meeting. I was so popular. I didn't want to leave. Reginald came and said we had to go, but I wanted to try out "The Dictator" again and Natasha asked me to teach her "The Bus Driver."

Reginald is stronger than me (see, the buff paragraph did serve a purpose) and he was able to wrest me away. But I really want to go back next year and show off some more moves. I've been practicing...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #5

Good idea: Spending time with your dad.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Will you be my friend?

You want to be cool. The cool kids have friends. You want to have friends. Here's how:

Make eye contact and smile, even when the other person is ugly and eye contact is painful.

Tell people you like their hair. People like to hear things about their hair. Don't be specific ("the grease in your hair has a great sheen") -- you'll only get into trouble.

Poke the person. That will get them interested. This is especially important if they start to fall asleep.

Say something. Anything.

Keep your shirt on, even if you think it would be entertaining to take it off.

Use pejorative language sparingly, especially as it relates to your conversation partner.

Use technology like phone, text, email and smoke signals to communicate. You can speak in person too.

Make sure the other person knows your name. Remind them of it occasionally in case they forget. If you forget the other person's name, you can ask them to remind you.

Apply pressure. Chide them for failing to invite you to be their friend. Call repeatedly at odd hours to get their attention and show you care.

Take it slowly, but make sure it takes.

Use the other person's secrets for leverage to get more friends. This will test your ability to listen and repeat.

Remember their birthday.

Miss a couple of promised events to keep things interesting.

When you are ready to make the big leap, push the add friend button. With all this wooing, your new Facebook friend should accept post haste.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Most Depressing Day of the Year

Today is the most depressing day of the year. Live it up, breathe it in and enjoy the moment. And we'll be here tomorrow, in case you were getting a little down. :-)

Did that emoticon cheer you up? Let us know in the comment section.

Zombie Monday #8: Survivor Appendix

Getting eaten by a zombie can ruin your whole day. Today, our last post on how to keep that from happening.

Before digging into the meat of the post (pun intended), let's quickly respond to a comment from last week:

"I think we've had enough of the zombie silliness ... plus this post is way too violent. Please let your posts reflect your Christian character, rather than the lack thereof. Shame." - nunya

Let us ask you this, nunya: is it moral to set a mousetrap?

What about: put an alarm system in your house?

What about: shoot a bear that's mauling your mother?

We're not sure if you're one of those [special] people who would argue that the life of a bear is equal to that of a human, or that we should never do anything to protect ourselves. But if you're like most of us (Christians very much included), you can agree that certain measures are fully appropriate. So let's look at the moral weight of killing a zombie:

Zombies are not human; they have human bodies but no soul. They are actually animated by a virus, which many scientists contend does not actually count as life at all. This virus creature is going to kill you and the rest of the people in your party if you don't kill it first.

In a perfect world, there would be no zombies, and if there were zombies, we'd find a way to get along. But the sad truth is that zombies force you into a kill-or-be-killed scenario. Violence is never preferable, but if it is ever at any moment justified, self-defense from zombies is one of those moments.

We're not writing these posts because of we're consumed by blood lust. We're writing them because we want to help keep you and your family safe.

And "zombie silliness"? Come now. Remember all the people who used phrases like "Nazi silliness", "nuclear silliness" and "Black plague silliness." We don't want these things to happen but you absolutely must be prepared for the worst if you intend to survive the future.

On to the serious stuff.


So you're on the run. You've got a safe place ahead, you're well armed and supplied, you have a route that will help you avoid zombie swarms and looters. You're good, right?


You need to plan your survivor party. A good party contains 3-8 people of varying complementary skills. If you've reached your comfortable maximum number of survivors and someone else comes along that you really want, recruit that person, then get rid of the weakest link by having them take point.

New recruits to your party should all be healthy, focused, well-supplied, and most importantly, unbitten. Never allow someone to join your party if they seem to meet any of the following criterion:

- Unable to run or see due to sickness
- Faints at the sight of blood
- Starving; just wants to join your party for the food
- Likely to challenge authority
- A coward
- Has been "nibbled" and feels "a little weird you guys."
- Probably won't work well with the rest of your group (For instance, has Nazi tattoos (This assumes your group doesn't consist of Nazis already (We don't mean to imply that Nazis shouldn't try to escape the apocalypse (Because their lives matter too, after all)))).
- Is your ex-girlfriend.

So, if they meet all the basic prerequisites, how do you decide who gets to come along? By making a case-by-case decision aided by

FCN's Zombie Apocalypse Survivor Appendix

The Accountant

Questionable physical fitness. Full of occasionally useful trivia. Tends to get along with other survivors. Learns fast.
Verdict: Recruit.
The Scavenger

Shady criminal past. Likes to "boost" weapons, food, and drugs off people who are no longer able to enjoy them. Can sneak around in broad daylight. Works best alone.
Verdict: Don't trust, but recruit if necessary.

The Medic

Medical experience. Knows what to do when people get hurt. Calm in an emergency. Has medical supplies. Doesn't know how to fire a gun.
Verdict: Recruit at all costs.

The Newbie

Can't wait to fight zombies. Has been eagerly waiting for this day for months. Has a zombie costume at home. Wears it to parties all the time. Knows all about fighting zombies and can't wait to tell you.
Verdict: Shoot on sight.

The Looter

Sees the apocalypse as a chance to get rich. Can't walk by a store without breaking in and stealing stuff. Has a growing stockpile of goods back at "the pad."
Verdict: Ask for directions, then avoid.

The Ninja

Obscures face. Has dozens of medieval weapons hidden on person. Can jump over buildings and kill people just by thinking about it.
Verdict: Recruit.

The Princess

Has never been out of an air-conditioned environment. Unpredictable in high-stress situations. Incredibly naive. Worries about her hair even while zombies are clawing at it.
Verdict: Recruit if desperate for people or if confident she can be protected until trained.

Never smiles. Wears elaborate costume. Sits awake at night brooding. Carries gigantic sword. Loaded with sage advice.
Verdict: Recruit, then appoint head of the party.

The Baby

Fresh-faced. Obedient. Idolizes other survivors. Can handle self in stressful situation but will eventually break down after prolonged exposure to zombies. Will eventually be mortally wounded, causing the other survivors to gather around with tears in their eyes, listening to exclamations like: "I'm so young!" and "It hurts!"
Verdict: Do not recruit.

The Biker

Covered in tattoos. Won't let anyone touch personal stuff. Is "too tough" for zombies. Would sooner die a slow death than admit to fear. Has a vague zombie plan involving killing them all.
Verdict: Recruit if can follow orders.

The Demo Man

Smokes a cigar. Talks loudly. Carries dynamite and grenades. Tosses lit fuses over shoulder and walks away in slow motion as things blow up from behind.
Verdict: Unnecessary, but occasionally useful. Recruit.

The Chef

Carries blades and knows how to use them. Can feed a hundred people without breaking a sweat.
Verdict: Recruit and have cover rear.

The Veteran

Always has something in mouth. Cantankerous. Claims that this "doesn't compare to the zombie apocalypse of '73," when they had to go uphill barefoot in the snow with head wounds and nagging girlfriends just to get shotgun shells. Knows how to handle a weapon.
Verdict: Recruit and keep under close watch.

The FCN Contributor

Weak and pasty. Terrified of zombies. Lots of useful head knowledge. Constantly calls "my girlfriend to make sure she's all right." Existence of said girlfriend is dubious. Keeps posting on FCN as if nothing has happened. Occasionally makes snide remarks.
Verdict: By all means recruit.

Well, that's it for the Zombie Monday series! We hope we've done our part to help get you ready for the future.

So what are we going to do with this space next Monday? Come back then and find out!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Orange Army

Few things get the derelict student more excited than the rush of loud audiences at a sporting event. While we enjoy noise outside the organized “stand up and scream” chaos of athletics - I’m thinking of the occasional amateur guitar “entertainer” on the campus' main lawn - the possibility of getting a T-shirt for our efforts gives incentive and purpose to our vocal straining.

As a proud member of the Derelict Class (that’s a step below the step below the “welfare class” and a hair above the “utterly and completely useless class”), I feel an urgent need to network with other sporting enthusiasts. At the Men’s Basketball team’s last exhibition home game, I got that opportunity.

The Orange Army is a motley collection of under-performing jocks, mis-fits and C-students who organize to rout for the home team from the sideline. They wear unflattering colors and shout unflattering things at the visiting team from a platform just close enough to center stage to appease their egoism. After one look at the writhing collection of impromptu cheerleaders, I knew I had what it took.

The first five minutes were excellent. The army’s “volume is required, intelligence not essential SIR” motto fit well with my basic life philosophy. Our fearless leader, a metabolically thin student with a goofy orange hard hat inscribed with the words “Orange Army Leader,” brought us all together for a pep talk (“leave nothing untoward unsaid”) and we declared our readiness with a few “hoorahs.”

Then reality set in. Most fans - especially the visiting team’s aficionados who were seated less than thirty feet to our left - are not keen on having their viewing experience interrupted by boisterous enthusiasts like us. The event organizers sent down a security guard who stood between the visiting team’s fans and us as we shouted epithets at each other. I’d seen something similar on Jerry Springer once, but I’d never experienced it in person. I was disappointed at the security guard’s bulk, but was encouraged by the imposing weapon poised on his hip.

Anthony Brown, one of the captains for the home team, was getting mad. A couple of the referees had made horrendous calls (“Hey, Zebra! Your mom could have made that call better!”) and, while we did our best to point it out (“Yo stripes! When was the last time you had that prescription refilled?”), Brown was having a hard time keeping his emotions in check.

So he threw his headband into the stands. More specifically Brown threw his headband toward the Orange Army. It landed within a stride of me. I was elated to have a souvenir from the game. I reached out to pick it up when I noticed something.

A trail of sweat coated the hardwood from where the sweatband had first struck the ground until it ceased its movement. From where I stood, I could see that the material of the cloth was drenched; it glistened like Jeremiah Wright in a sermon. I hesitated, not wanting to carry a cup of Brown’s sweat with me the rest of the day but wanting to avoid the appearance of weakness in front of the other orange soldiers.

Finally, our fearless leader reached down and picked up up. He paused only a second before placing the soaked sweatband on his own forehead and releasing a rebel yell, which we returned. We respected him all the more for the drops which mosied down his face like tears he didn’t cry.

We’ll be out there next home game in full regalia. If you take pride in your dereliction, you’ll be there too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Constitution of the Divided States of America

We, the people of the Divided States of America, in order to form a much more perfect union, establish tolerant systems of justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense of the “little man," and secure the blessings of Libertarianism for ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Divided States of America.

Proposal: In preparation for the Presidential Election in 2012, The Advocates of the DSA do hereby propose a geographic relocation of persons according to party affiliation. We suggest that all Democrats be pushed to the west coast, all Republicans be moved to the east coast, and all undecided and independent voters be placed in the Midwestern states. Inasmuch as many liberals already reside in Left Coast states, this plan should not require too much rearranging. In addition to campaigning in their own territories, both parties will be able to access the quagmire of undecided and independent voters in the Midwest by pressing in on both sides.

Disclaimer: This should not be confused with gerrymandering practices. The Advocates of the DSA is a non-partisan, social awareness group.

The Plan: Relocation should begin as soon as possible in order to allow a proper length of time before the 2012 election. This plan would allow 3 presidential candidates to be chosen, one from each territory. For example, the left coast would choose a candidate, the right coast would choose a candidate, and so on. Then a battle royale would begin in the summer of 2012. No doubt, each side will release a barrage of cutting, critical commercials dissing the other candidates. There will be a series of scripted debates that will be held in the Battleground Middle-ground states. Consequently, on election day, the candidate with the most votes wins. Who needs the electoral college anyway? The only people who understand the electoral college are the people who went to school there.

Assuming, arguendo, that a tie occurs, a staring contest will be held to determine the winner.

Some people may attempt to distort their political affiliations in order to benefit their party by infiltrating enemy territory. Although some people will succeed in their efforts, an elephant test will be conducted if concerns are raised about a person's party connections. For example, a case of Obama bumper stickers found hidden in a garage would be enough evidence to send a person to the Left Coast.

Divided we stand, United we fall.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life Tip #83

Do not try to steal tires off of vehicles at a car dealership.

If you must try to steal tires off of vehicles at a car dealership and are interrupted by the authorities, do not run away.

If you must try to steal tires off of vehicles at a car dealership and run away when interrupted by the authorities, do not taunt the police.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

O's Inauguration Address

One of the most anticipated speeches of the new year is undoubtedly O's Inaugural Address, the speech he will give today after taking the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States. Through devious and irresponsible ways, FCN was able to obtain a late draft of the address -- one of the shortest on record for any modern President -- and we republish it here without permission:

President Bush Jr., distinguished guests, rediscovered family and my fellow citizens, the peaceful transfer of power is rare in history, yet common in our country. George, if you can pick this broadcast up in your Kenyan hut, the peaceful transfer of power is something your country could emulate. I'm just saying...that...with a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings. We draw the curtain on the past and begin a new genesis. We end old dynasties and start new ones. Do you hear that Malia Anne?

As I begin, I thank the outgoing President for his service to our nation. He did not deface public property by removing all the “O” letters from White House keyboards. For that, my administration and the American taxpayer are grateful.

And I thank Senator McCain for a contest conducted with the experience granted only by age. You had a lot of experience, Senator. Thank you for coming today. I know this is early for you and it’s pretty chilly out. But thanks for showing just the same.

As we stand here in this cold, I can’t help but blame former Vice President Al Gore for his effectiveness at curbing global warming. If he were less enthusiastic about eliminating the green house effect and halting the rise of world temperatures, we might be comfortable right now. I might be delivering this august address in shorts and a Hawaii shirt – ‘cause I’m from Hawaii and it would be warmer.

The weather aside, I am honored and humbled to stand here, on this stage that was erected in my honor and will be removed by minimum wage employees after we all go. Minimum wage employees, I might add, who will see a pay increase under my administration if I am able to clear the idea with my conservative cabinet. I am honored and humbled to stand here in front of all you people, almost as many as came out to my little thing in Germany and watch Reggeasänger Patrice, a German pop band Reamonn, a British DJ named Mantu, and me, Barack O’Bama, on a jumbotron. I mean, that was a great experience -- to be lauded by the world like that -- but this is an honor too.

We all have a story, all of us do. Some of our stories are an impromptu collection of chapters, hastily composed and poorly themed. Others have an anthology of words they tie together loosely under the banner of a message. That was McCain's flaw. I have the distinction of having a carefully marketed and highly honed message that is targeted at inspiring hope, passion and resolve among those who hear it. My story is effective because of its ability to motivate, change and motivate change.

You all know my story – it was in that Ross Perot-inspired infomercial before the election – so I won’t get into it now. It’s also really cold -- I can hear Michelle’s teeth chattering all the way over here -- and the punch may get cold if I keep you too long. But you can YouTube it. It’s an American story – about an American who was born in America with a credible American birth certificate and living American witnesses who verify his American legal status.

That was supposed to be an applause line, but we can’t have everything we want, right?

And that was supposed to be a joke. I should probably fire my speech writers. Maybe I’ll give them another chance because they wrote such a good story for me.

Oh. Not again. We seem to have a fainting. Someone fell down. Would you clear a space, please? Let her breathe. Do we have a medic? Some kind of paramedic or nurse or doctor? Here, I have a water bottle. Good thing too. She just needs to have a drink. Clear a path. Let her breathe...

This is what happens when you make history. People faint. It’s also what happens when you don’t eat breakfast or are dehydrated, but history making will do the trick too.

Gosh it’s cold. Did you know that William Henry Harrison died one month after his inaugural address after catching pneumonia at a very cold and wet March 4th inauguration? His speech was over 8,000 words long and took over two hours to read. I didn’t know it either. One of the secret service agents in the armored limo told me on the way up. Sure makes you want to wrap yourself up in some mink or other cute-creature fur and warm away the shivers, doesn’t it?

In fact, I’ve been told – I don’t know this for a fact – but I’ve been told that there is a heat warmed blanket waiting for me in the tinted window limo. That’s the reason we abandoned the retractable hardtop idea and opted for the tinted windows. So get that blanket warmed up, will you Rahm Emanuel? Thanks.

Oh it’s ready now?

Well ladies and gentlemen and George, if you could tune in, that’s about all I wanted to cover in this, my first official oration as President. Let me end by giving the news media a few quotable quips:

"An angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm." That’s from Bush’s inauguration address eight years ago. It’s a good line.

"Intellect distinguishes between the possible and the impossible; reason distinguishes between the sensible and the senseless. Even the possible can be senseless." That’s Max Born.

"I know lots of people that take cocaine three nights a week and get up and go to work every day, no problem. But we never hear that side of the story." That was Lily Allen, the singer. And by the way, I’m trying to quit smoking.

"Hope springs eternal." That’s me. Hope.

God bless you all, and God bless America.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Zombie Monday #7: Weapon Appendix

The Zombie Apocalypse may not be a good place to take a date. But if you do, you might as well keep her alive.

"Build a 50.caliber automatic gun ..." - Anonymous

"My plan involves a large sword (like Cloud's in FF7). That and a minigun." - Mairazu

"... With my superior strength and martial arts skills, I would have no problem stabbing anything with a wooden stick. Anyways, a rail spike or spear would not be as satisfying." - dwight

"Whack them on the head with a crowbar... Assuming, of course, that you aren't a zombie yourself. Either that or get a big shovel to whack them with instead ..." - Anonymous

"It's waaay more satisfying to put your foot through a zombies head, assuming that you're ninja enough to do it..." - Guitarbob

"Two pistols, cool!" - Zoey

Let's face it: even the best-thought-out zombie plan is unlikely to protect you from encountering a zombie. And when you do, you'll have to be ready to remove the head or destroy the brain. How is this best done? This week, we examine some of the more popular ideas for taking on zombies.

But first, a few words on zombie combat in general.

As we pointed out at the start of the series, even the most effective weapon will not save you. Anyone who's played a zombie videogame has at one point allowed himself to think: "I'm pretty hardcore. Maybe I could just shoot my way through a real apocalypse."

Unfortunately, the real apocalypse will be densely strewn with weapons and ammunition every five minutes, nor will you be able to use health packs to instantly undo most or all of the damage the zombies did to you.

On the contrary, a single zombie bite will eventually kill you and nothing in your first aid kit will stop that. A punch will bruise, a scratch or cut will bleed. Wounds will take days at the least to heal, and meanwhile, you'll have to keep moving and fighting. Patching up a wound will take clean water, antiseptic, and bandages. You'll need to have someone cover your back for several minutes while you do it. More complex wounds will require shrapnel extraction or stitches. Medical work can't really be done while zombies are climbing through the window.

If you carry as much ammo as possible while still being able to hike (a small backpack's worth), you'll still only last a few minutes maximum. By that time, you'd better have pushed through the area and moved to safer ground.

If you avoid ammo-based weapons, you're depending on your own physical stength to kill a zombie. Even a super-sharp sword takes energy to swing. You stay in combat - real world combat - for a minute or two and you'll have sweat pouring into your eyes. Fatigue will set in and your blows will begin to weaken. Next thing you know, you're on the ground and someone is gnawing on your pahookie.

We hope we've talked you out of depending solely on combat for your ZSF. Now let's dig into the details, ranking 31 popular zombie-killing weapons from 0 to 5 assuming a very basic knowledge of all the weapons involved:

Oh, one more quick note. We can't speak to the level of satisfaction you'll get from using a weapon, but we would submit that this is utterly irrelevant. Combat is about survival. If the idea of slaughtering the undead by the hundreds appeals to you, go play a game and get it out of your system, because you won't last long in the real world. In your basement, zombie killing is about unlimited ammunition and snappy one-liners. Outside, it's about quick, efficient killing. While you're pulling your sword out of one zombie, another one is crawling onto your back.

So, getting into a fight with zombies is about getting in and getting out as fast as possible, preserving as much strength and ammo as possible along the way.

Okay. On to the Weapon Appendix.

FCN's Zombie Apocalypse Weapon Appendix

Pros: Everyone has them. Packs a decent impact.
Cons: Requires tremendous strength and training to deliver fatal kicks. Rate of attack very slow. Difficult to maintain balance during an attack. Hard to use in close quarters. Cannot be used while on the move. Vulnerable to bites.
Overall: 0

Pros: Easy to find. Can be used to clear debris from your path.
Cons: Heavy. Fuel is clunky and dangerous. Will not even slow down a charging zombie. Likely to break in a combat situation. Will reduce your chances of being inducted into a survivor party by making you look like an idiot.
Overall: 0

Pros: Extremely easy to find. Lightweight. Useful if you happen to run into a pesky Vampire. Biodegradable.
Cons: Abysmal damage-to-effort ratio. Dulls and breaks after repeated use. Danger of splinters. Very close range. Incredibly slow rate of attack.
Overall: 0.

Pros: Easy to find. Doubles as a coffee maker.
Cons: Clunky. No sharp edges. Hard to bludgeon with. Easily broken. Requires electricity, clean water, and grounds to make coffee. Ineffective in almost every possible way.
Overall: 0

Pros: Totally accessible. Lightweight. Deadly accuracy. Easy to use.
Cons: Poor damage-to-effort ratio. Susceptible to bites. Bruises after repeated use. Extremely close range.
Overall: 1

Pros: Finding and transporting a cinch. Reasonable bludgeoning tool.
Cons: Mediocre damage-to-effort ratio. Hard to use in cramped quarters. Close range. Very slow rate of attack.
Overall: 1.

Pros: Easy to find. Decent reach. Moderately easy to carry. Occasionally useful for survival tasks.
Cons: Surprisingly ineffective bludgeoning and stabbing tool. Useless for cutting. Awkward and exhausting to use.
Overall: 1


Pros: Easy to find and transport. Very useful for survival tasks, especially in urban areas. Can be dual wielded. Sharp edges on both sides mean high potential rate of attack. Handy for killing any head crabs that happen by.
Cons: Only moderately effective at stabbing and bludgeoning. Causes massive wear and tear on the knuckles.
Overall: 1

Pros: Very easy to use. Reasonable accuracy and damage at medium-close range.
Cons: Useless in close combat. Agonizing reload takes time and strength. Bolts don't necessarily guarantee a kill.

Pros: Moderate effectiveness as a stabbing or bludgeoning tool. Reasonably accessible.
Cons: Hard to carry. Hurts to use. Very close range. Incredibly slow rate of attack. Gets stuck in zombies all the time.
Overall: 1

Pros: Extremely common and lightweight. Diverse. Indispensable for a host of survival tasks. Easy to use. Can be devastating in the hands of an experienced user. Can be dual wielded.
Cons: Wounds don't bring down zombies very fast. Can get stuck. Useful only in extreme close range. Messy to use.
Overall: 2

Pros: Ammo can be made at home. Shafts can be ignited. Lethal at medium to point-blank range in the hands of an expert. Bow can double as a melee weapon in a pinch. Shafts can be retrieved and reused.
Cons: Mediocre rate of fire. Requires great strength and prowess to even draw the bow. Tricky to use indoors. Somewhat inaccurate. Does disappointing amount of damage; sometimes takes multiple hits to down a charging zombie.
Overall: 2

Pros: Large blast radius. Handy dandy. Can provide a moment's calm in order to reload another weapon.
Cons: Cannot be used indoors. A bad toss can force survivors from their stockade or worse. Low rate of fire. Useless in close combat.
Overall: 2

Pros: Devastating short-range attack can obliterate huge crowds of undead and illuminate the night.
Cons: Very heavy. Fuel is clunky and dangerous. Cannot be used indoors, around a hiding place, or near other survivors. Loud noise and bright light attracts zombies from massive distances.
Overall: 2

Pros: Extremely high rate of fire and damage. Very large clip size. Can be mounted.
Cons: Incredibly heavy. Innaccurate unless set up before firing. Very slow to turn. Slow reload time. Overheats.

Pros: Devastating damage per shot. Looks really cool. Easy to draw. Can be used at any range from medium-close to melee. Can be reloaded one shot at a time. Can be dual wielded.
Cons: Agonizing reload. Huge kick. Slow rate of fire. Heavy (for its size). Bullets are clunky to carry around. Very shallow clip.
Overall: 2

Claymore Mine

Pros: Hands-free operation. Great for covering a retreat. Guaranteed kill. Can be deployed very close to firing line thanks to directional blast.
Cons: Can be tricky to set up. Incorrect facing can lead to embarrassing death. Doesn't necessarily detonate at the most useful moment.
Overall: 2

Pros: For a melee weapon, fairly long range. Useful in many kinds of survival situations. Can impale several zombies at once.
Cons: Hard to use and transport in cramped areas. Low rate of attack. Tricky to pull out of charging zombie if the first strike didn't stop it.

Pros: Long range. Sizable blast radius can clear a path through zombies and obstructions. Exhaust trail can double as a distress flare in a pinch.
Cons: Heavy. Ammunition is almost as big as weapon. Very slow reload time. A liability at close range. Lots of breakable parts. Undependable accuracy.
Overall: 2

Pros: Easy to find. Useful in a wide range of survival situations. Effective in close quarters.
Cons: Tends to get stuck in zombies. Danger of hitting other survivors. Messy to use.

Pros: Ranged weapon with unlimited ammunition. Can be used to traverse complex obstacles and play fetch with robots. Small chance of becoming super-charged, allowing you to toss zombies like ragdolls.
Cons: Nearly useless without plenty of throwable objects in room, such as saw blades and explosive barrels. Tines at end of gun can be damaged. Extremely rare. Impossible to repair. Will cause resentment among other survivors who don't get to use the gravity gun.
Overall: 3

Pros: Easy to make. Can make large areas intraversable to zombies, allowing you to cover your escape or block an attack. Reasonably easy to carry.
Cons: Hard to control. Unpredictable flight path and spill. May leak on the carrier, causing him to burst into flames when attempting to use.
Overall: 3

Pros: Massive cutting edge can cut swathes through a horde. Powerful swing will cut through just about anything.
Cons: Very heavy. Requires extensive training and conditioning. Cannot be used near other survivors. Almost impossible to find.

Pros: Very long range. High damage output. Scope doubles as a monocular for scouting a path ahead. There are lots of them in Wal-Mart.
Cons: Slow rate of fire. Easier to break than combat weapons. Nearly useless at close quarters. Kick can knock an unready user flat on his back.
Overall: 3

Pros: Deep clip. Can be mounted on a building or vehicle. Good damage output.
Cons: Heavy, complicated to use. Lengthy reload time. Very heavy. So are the ammo boxes. Innaccurate except when set up and at medium-close range.
Overall: 3

Pros: Super-heated projectiles melt zombies with ease. Very little kick. Decent range and accuracy. High rate of fire. Very easy to use. Biodegradable.
Cons: Protracted firing will cause overheating, in which hot plasma is vented out of the side of the weapon, potentially harming the user. Lengthy cool down time after overheat is enough for zombies to overwhelm user. Moderately sized battery is not replaceable.
Overall: 3

Pros: Strong, razor sharp, extremely effective for slashing, stabbing, and cutting.
Cons: Likely to cause as much harm as good in the hands of a novice. Must be maintained using special oils.

Pros: Easy to draw. Decent medium-close damage and accuracy. Clips are easy to pack and tend to be fairly available. Can be used at point blank range, even in a melee. Makes a good secondary weapon. Can be dual wielded with practice. Very fast reload.
Cons: Individual shots don't do much damage. Shallow clip.
Overall: 4

Pros: Good medium range accuracy. Easy to use in almost any situation. Reasonable weight and reload time. Can be silenced.
Cons: Shallow clip. Mediocre damage for an automatic weapon.

Pros: Wide firing pattern almost guarantees a hit. Can take out multiple zombies at once. Devastating close-range blast will knock zombies backward. Can reload one shell at a time. Short barrel means easy maneuverability in close quarters.
Cons: In most cases, very shallow clip. Iconic status as the ultimate zombie-fighting weapon may cause other survivors to turn on you to get it. Cannot be used to fire at zombies who are attacking other survivors. Slow reload time.
Overall: 5

Pros: Diverse application in almost any combat situation. Rugged, reliable. Adjustable rate of fire. Effective from medium-long distances to point-blank. Fast reload time. Can be heavily modified and silenced.
Cons: Clips are clunky. Somewhat harder to turn around with compared to a melee or shorter-barreled weapon. Someone will kill you for it while you are sleeping.
Overall: 5

Think you know how to avoid getting turned into a zombie pinata? Post your plan below for a free expert analysis.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Search for the Perfect Major: Part 2

Major in the spotlight: Theatre

I was excited. Eager. Euphoric. Elated. Ecstatic. Enraptured. Exhilarated. I was seriously considering a future as a theatre major, and I had found my “big break”.

It was the day of auditions for my college’s winter play, and I was waiting in line for my chance to shine. This year’s special was Romeo and Juliet. I’d never read the play, but I’d listened to “Love Song” by Taylor Swift, so I was confident. The bright minds of the drama department had decided to run auditions in a style closely resembling “American Idol." Except in my school, there are three acerbic and abrasive drama buffs ready to cut me down instead of one American Idol Simon. I strode into the room and an assistant handed me a sheet of paper filled with lines from the play. It looked like all the auditions were being run the same way, with everyone reading lines for Romeo AND Juliet. I stepped in front of the judges and scanned the page one last time.

Simon 1: We haven’t got all day, please begin reading at the top of the page, the section of Juliet’s lines.
Me: Uh..okay. Do you need to know my name?
Simon 2: That’s not necessary unless you get a part. Which is doubtful, I must say… judging by the looks of you.
Simon 3: Ugh.
Me: Here goes… “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name…”
Simon 1: Don’t say it as you, use your imagination, don’t just read it! Start again with the same line.
Me: Yo, yo… Romeo, where are you, boo? Tell your daddy off…
Simon 3: Ugh.
Simon 2: That’s not funny.
Me: I know, sorry. I can’t do gangsta. But you said to use my imagination…
Simon 1: Well, never mind. Read the part of Romeo now, this time with true feeling.
Me: “Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books, but love from love, toward school with heavy looks.”
Simon 2: How true that is… that was much better. Thank you for your time. Leave your name with my assistant and we’ll be in touch.
Simon 3: Ugh.

They didn’t ask twice for me to leave, I was more than ready to get out of Dodge. Callback announcements were today, and I went to check the callback list on the drama department’s bulletin board. I ran my finger down the list of names, and my heart stopped. I had a callback! The list said I was being considered for the part of Rosaline. This was wonderful! Maybe being a theatre major would be the perfect fit for me! I’m getting on Wikipedia right now. I want to find out more about this Rosaline chick. Here it is, “Rosaline is an unseen character with whom Romeo briefly falls in love before meeting Juliet.” I would have no lines, and never appear on stage. This must be a mistake! Ugh.

I don’t think I’ll go to the callbacks. Instead, I’ll use that time to plan the next stop on my search for a major.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Environmental Wacko? I Think Not.

Last June, I was hired by an environmental firm to do administrative work. The pay was good and the people were nice, so I decided to take the job. Plus, I really, really, really needed work.

Now, I don't think I've ever been what anyone would label an "environmental wacko" or even environmentally conscious. Sure, I never littered and tried to drive as little as possible - mostly due to monetary concerns - but it didn't bother my conscience too much if I threw away a bottle instead of recycling it or used more paper than absolutely necessary.

About a month into my job, however, my family started calling me a treehugger. "Naw," I thought, "they're just giving me a hard time. There's no way I'm remotely close to being a treehugger!"Well, I've been in full denial for 5 months now, but a recent encounter finally opened my eyes to the truth.

My mom and I were at C---co, buying a new computer and my mom asked the guy checking us out if we could give them our old computer to dispose of.

"No," he said, "you can just throw it away."

"What?!" I asked, staring in disbelief. "That's illegal! Those computers contain hazardous waste! The acid can leak out and cause a lot of damage to the environment. Don't you know that it's a federal offense to dispose of old computers that way? You have to take it to the county Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility, or you can get in big trouble. Does C---co know you're telling this to customers? You guys could get in big trouble!!!"

It was at that point, after seeing the blank looks on the faces of the checkout man and my mom, that I realized what my family members were telling me was indeed true. My worst nightmare had become reality. I was a full-fledged environmental wacko.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #4

Good idea: Playing the bagpipes at a Scottish festival

Bad idea: Playing the bagpipes anywhere else

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Go! Go! Go!

Captain: Are all the soldiers ready?

First Mate: Ready sir!

Captain: Do they have their swords at the ready?

First Mate: At their sides sir!

Captain: How are we doing on time?

First Mate: Behind schedule. About ten minutes behind sir.

Captain: Any way we can make that up?

First Mate: No sir. We will have to slink.

Captain: Slink?

First Mate: Yes. Enter from the anterior side.

Captain: What about the soldiers who are already there?

First Mate: We will be the relief, the reinforcements.

Captain: Is that allowed?

First Mate: No. But our superiors won't notice.

Captain: OK, let's do it. Let's go meet with the church.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Zombie Monday #6: Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain.

Planning for a zombie invasion is fun. Getting eaten alive is easy.

Take your pick.

"This sounds a whole lot like vampires. Are the two related?" - you can call me batman

Zombies and vampires are totally different. Vampire survival is a topic for another series, but here are a few quick differences:

VAMPIRE LIABILITIES: Garlic, wooden stakes, silver bullets, light, etc.
ZOMBIE LIABILITIES: Removing the head, destroying the brain.

They do have a few things in common, including aversion to light and a tendency to bite people. But zombies and vampires are very, very different.

Let's get more in depth by going back to the basics: the anatomy of a zombie. What are they? How are they different from humans? And most importantly, how do we kill them?

As we already covered, Zombieism is a fatal nerve disease contracted by a strong
zombie virus infection. The virus takes over the host's brain (killing the host in the process) and then animates it the body.

There are many different kinds of a zombies. Here, we describe the common zombie, your most likely and abundant foe:

Physical Changes. Contrary to many popular depictions, zombies do not immediately change color, rot, ooze green stuff, or engage in any other strange physiological behaviors. These are colorful details added by sensationalists. Zombies have human bodies, changed only in a few subtle ways. Human bodies don't ooze green stuff. Of course, due to cessation of basic hygienic activities, zombies will eventually start to look pretty gross. Maybe as gross as some of the people you know right now. You know the ones.

The most important physical change is that zombies are good at isolating wounds. While a nasty wound to an extremity could couse a human to go into shock or pass out from loss of blood, zombies are able to isolate the damaged area pretty quickly, meaning cutting off a zombie's hand isn't going to bother it a lot.

Along the same lines, zombies do not experience widespread rot. Zombies do not treat their wounds in any way, but they can isolate the flesh wound and keep the gangrene from spreading. Locking a zombie in a closet until he rots to death is not a good strategy.

Mental Changes. Zombies have mediocre motor skills and very poor imagination. Their minds are not active enough to engage in complex activities like using weapons, driving, opening all but the simplest doors and containers, speaking, or dancing. Their minds are well compared to that of mice. The two basic instincts (to spread the virus and find food, in that order) are very strong in zombies. Of course, they directly conflict with human's two basic-but-more-complex instincts (to protect oneself and find meaning). The zombie thought pattern is very basic: Brains. Brains. There are brains. Eat food. Spread. Find more brains.

As the virus becomes more accustomed to the host, motor skills will improve, making the zombie much more efficient in chasing down prey. Running, jumping, and even climbing will be natural in a zombie that has been infected for more than a few weeks.

Zombies are devoid of emotion or long-term memory.

Sensory Changes. Zombies use the same sensory organs we do, but perceive them very differently. The sense of smell is greatly amplified. An inconclusive 1998 study indicated that zombies have up to thirty times stronger smell than humans.

Their vision, meanwhile, is thoroughly impaired. Lacking the complex motor skills and reflexes to control the eyes, zombies will more or less blunder into the world ahead with only a vague notion of what's immediately in front of them.

Hearing is slightly amplified.

Zombies have no sense of touch, so you may safely poke them in the back, provided they do not hear or smell you.

So how do I kill them? By removing the head or destroying the brain. I say again: by removing the head or destroying the brain.

"Build a 50.caliber automatic gun. Place it on a 100ft vertical mountain with the only way to get up being a pullable ladder. Then make sure you have approximately 10,000 mega tons of ammunition. Hire gangs of ruthless walmart shoppers to get food and drink for your hideout." - Anonymous

Anonymous, let's just for a second ignore the numerous glaring logistical flaws in your plan and look at your weapon: a .50 caliber machine gun. Machine guns tend to be wildly inaccurate even when correctly set up and operated. They're great for fighting humans because humans can't stand getting shot, even in the pinkie finger or the hair. Put one or two rounds anywhere near them and they'll go scurrying for cover. Put one or two rounds anywhere in their bodies and they're down for the count. Not so with zombies, who are impervious to pain and oblivious of machine gun fire. Most of your rounds are going to miss, and while you're reloading, they'll eat you. The shots that do hit are unlikely to stop them. Machine guns are only effective against zombies at extreme close range (assuming you're only being attacked in one direction, such as down a narrow corridor), and then only if you have a reload plan.

"My zombie survival plan is simple: Stab them in the head with a wooden stick. It's the most satisfying way of killing them." - dwight

Great idea, dwight. And we're not being sarcastic. But consider your choice of weapons. Have you ever tried stabbing a wooden stick through someone's head? We thought not. Well, we have (in the name of science), and we can tell you first hand: it's really hard to do. Consider a rail spike or a spear instead. Just be sure to have plenty of high-calorie food and keep yourself hydrated. Melee combat will really drain your stamina.

Sadly, you have only the start of a zombie survival plan. Your full plan must account for much more, including how you take care of (or don't take care of) loved ones and material possessions, finding a safe place to sleep, rounding up fellow survivors (if pertinent), and acquiring food and medical supplies. You're off to a great start, dwight. Keep going!

There is one other way to kill zombies that we haven't mentioned yet. But that will have to wait for another Zombie Monday.

And if there's any way we can help you - and this time "you" means all you tasty readers out there - be sure to leave us a comment.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

FCN BC08: F - A Mandate for Progress

The polls are closed, and F has won a landslide victory over the field.

The actual percentages are confusing and might mislead you into thinking F wasn't winning the whole time. It might even suggest the election was close! This is, of course, untrue. Here's a simple breakdown of the poll results:

F: 1

This affirmation of F's posting style and leadership spells great days ahead for FCN. In the next board meeting, F will not answer to the usual titles (like "F" or "Dude"). Now, he will answer only to deferential titles (like "Victorious Victor" or "Most Superiorly Excellent Poster" or "The People's Choice"). F's opinion is infinitely more important than that of the losers who didn't get as many votes as he did.

Naturally, F isn't letting the victory go to his head. In fact, he's being incredibly gracious about it. He even announced in an internal email that he will adress his fellow contributors as equals even though they are clearly inferior to him. He could really rub this in their faces, but he's not. Just goes to show what a great guy F is.

It's a new year, under the affirmed leadership of a man who was once kicked off the blog. How have the mighty fallen in the midst of war! Who's laughing now? F is, that's who.


- An Impartial Third Party Commentator

Thursday, January 08, 2009

FCN BC08 - The Polls Are Open

Be sure to read before you vote. We wouldn't want this to be a mere popularity contest, right? Right.

Vote for me, please.

F - Gender as Described by Animals, a Photo Essay
C - Menu
N - I Like You
Chip - An Action Movie Flop
Jessica - Grin and Bear It
Ana - Music Explains It All

Polls close January 11th, after the clock strikes midnight.

Oh, and the poll is up at the top of the page, for those of you in Florida.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

FCN BC08 - Ana: Music Explains It All

Several years ago, I was completely lost when it came to understanding the opposite sex. If I mind my own business, I thought, guys won't bother me and I'll be able to finish school without distractions. But I was wrong.

The first time I was ever "hit on," it was by a young man who, let's just say, is a few fries short of a happy meal. Looking back, I should have answered differently when the first question he asked was "do you have a boyfriend?" but I was so caught off guard that I straightforwardly answered "no." After enduring 10 minutes of being asked out in a variety of ways via questions about my religion ("no, I'm not Baptist...Actually, no, our beliefs are not similar"), schedule ("I already have a group of people I hang out with on Wednesdays....and every other night of the week" - I figured my family of 8 counted as a group of people), school, and work ("I'm very busy, I don't really have time for anything else"), etc., I realized hints were not going to work.

Desperate, I told him he'd have to talk to my dad if he wanted to go out with me. When he replied that he knew my dad, that my dad likes him, and that he thought my dad would be fine with it, I was very blunt. "Actually, I don't think my dad would approve." After the young man had the gall to contradict me, I realized it was a hopeless case and gave up, praying that my brothers, for whom I was waiting, would hurry up and finish their job. Thankfully, they came to the car soon afterward and I left with hardly a goodbye.

On the way home, I was lamenting to my brothers that the first time I was ever hit on, it was by a young man "not firing on all cylinders," if you catch my drift. Ever eager to give comfort, my youngest brother said from the backseat, "Well, he must have been desperate." Men are such good sympathizers. Not.

Anyways, to return to the purpose of this post, I no longer have a problem understanding guys. Thanks to the music I listen to on the radio, which I discovered a few years ago, men are now an open book to me. Using popular songs for inspiration, I have created "Ana's Lyrical Guide to the Opposite Sex," which I present below for your edification.

1. Relationships
"The way you walk, the way you move...girl, there ain't nothing about you, that don't do something to me."
Translation: Men notice the physical. It doesn't matter if you're the sweetest girl in the world, if you don't have the looks, the guys aren't going to like you.

"He is sensible and so incredible...I couldn't ask for anything better...but I miss screaming and fighting and...you're so in love that you act insane."
Translation: Women may say they want a perfect gentleman, but they really don't. In fact, they don't even know what they want, but they rarely want what they have, even if they know it's "incredible."

2. Breakups
"What hurts the most was being so close and having so much to say and watching you walk away."
Translation 1: Just because a man doesn't say he loves you doesn't mean he doesn't love you; you just need to not sit so close to him so he's not distracted and can say what's in his heart.
Translation 2: Men don't like to talk, but their biggest regret after a break-up is that they didn't talk more.

"I'm still living with your goodbye, and you're just going on with your life. How could you just walk on by without one tear in your eye?"
Translation: It takes a woman a long time to get over a breakup, and if you get over it before she does, she'll resent you to the day she dies.

3. Cheating
"I didn't want to know the truth, I'd rather go on lovin' blind, girl, than go on lovin' without you; I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."
Translation: What a man doesn't know, won't hurt him. He'd rather not know that you cheated on him than break up with you.

"I dug my keys into the side of his pretty little souped-up four wheel drive, carved my name into his leather seats."
Translation: Shakespeare said it centuries ago: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

Well, there you have it. I hope this clears things up for you as you head into 2009 and the uncharted territory that is every relationship.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

FCN BCO8 - Jessica: Grin and Bear It

The National Institute for Gender Equality and Representation has commissioned a book of re-written nursery rhymes and popular children’s books that would reverse the gender of prominent characters. This book is intended to give boys and girls a chance to appreciate each other by showing how a person of the opposite gender would have handled certain modern situations while also giving both genders a chance to shine. Proposed titles would include, Goldiknocks: the Boy Who Killed the Three Bears, Curious Georgia, and Gary Had a Little Lamb. Below are excerpts from the press release that included theoretical synopses of these re-written classics.

Goldiknocks: the Boy Who Killed the Three Bears

Goldiknocks, who earned his name with an infamous set of brass knuckles, spots a family of bears who have taken up residence in the woods near his home. One day, while the bears are taking a walk while they wait for their porridge to cool, Goldiknocks arms himself with a heavy-duty assault weapon and sneaks into the bears' house. While he waits for the impending massacre, he eats the bears' porridge and chops up their chairs for firewood. He then jumps on their beds and hides in the closet. When the bears return home, they realize that things are not the way they left them. Goldiknocks takes advantage of their confusion and guns them down with an M16. Then he invites his friends to a bear stew supper to celebrate the victory for human ownership of the woods. PETA is informed of his cruelty to animals, and he spends the rest of his childhood in juvenile detention.

Curious Georgia

Georgia is a curious little monkey who can't keep her mouth shut. She noses into peoples' affairs and gives them unwanted advice. One day, she asks a turbaned terrorist what he does for a living. In a fit of rage, he locks her in a cage and keeps her in a dark, dank, top-secret meeting tent. She manages to listen in on many important terrorist conferences, and with the help of an unnaturally keen memory, is able to remember every detail of these meetings. After months in captivity, Georgia uses her feminine wiles to charm her way into the heart of one weak-hearted terrorist. In a daring escape, her patsy terrorist releases her, and she is able to steal important terrorist records. She takes her findings to the US Army, who are able to capture and convict the terrorists. Hailed as a hero, Georgia appears on Oprah, The View, Saturday Night Live, and Maury. The President appoints Georgia the monkey to be an ambassador for PETA.

Gary Had a Little Lamb

When Gary's school partners with the USDA and the local 4-H chapter, Gary is put in charge of a lamb. His job is to care for the lamb and write a report about his experiences. Unfortunately, the lamb causes a lot of problems for Gary. The lamb sneaks into school by hiding in Gary's backpack. Gary gets sent to the principal's office where he gets expelled for breaking the school's "No animals on school property" rule. In a daring attempt to wow his teacher and be re-enrolled in school, Gary decides to use the lamb in useful ways. He shears the lamb’s wool and uses it to knit socks for homeless people. He takes the lamb to his local juvenile detention rehab ward and lets the inmates play with him. This method proves to be quite therapeutic, especially for a young lad named Goldiknocks, who is soon released on good behavior. After the school board hears of Gary's valiant community service, Gary is re-enrolled in the school and is also asked to teach a girls' knitting class.

The focus groups that were tested have produced intriguing results. One boy said, "It makes me want to go kill some bears! Bears are ferocious flesh eaters!" Later, he and several of the male readers were witnessed wrestling in the parking lot, taking turns being bears or humans. A few girl readers screamed or cried during key parts of the stories. The most emotional girl blubbered, "I've always wanted to meet Joy Behar! Curious Georgia inspired me to get out there and charm some terrorists! (scream) But Those poor bears! Why did Goldiknocks kill poor innocent bears? I love bears. They're so cute."

Monday, January 05, 2009

FCN BC08 - Chip: An Action Movie Flop

Have you ever noticed that life is sort of like an action movie? Reach back into your memory and see what you can pull out. Chances are, you don't remember what you had for dinner two days ago, how you spent those fifteen straight hours on the web, or exactly when your supersize case of Red Bull reached the last can, necessitating the fight you are (i.e. I am) currently waging over who gets to drink it. No, you don't remember those things, but you do remember other things very vividly. You remember when you jumped into the swimming pool and hit your chin on the side, crimsoning the water with your manly blood. You remember—this in slow motion—when you ran a red light at 120 mph and glimpsed a camera on the traffic light as you passed. You remember what a moron you felt like when you had to plead guilty to that in court.

Anyway, my point is that memory has the boring parts edited out, which of course means that memory is a decidedly masculine skill. If I lived the life of my female counterparts, would I remember anything, or would all my life be left on the cutting floor? Just a thought.

One moment that was never, and will never be left on the cutting floor is the moment that a woman drove up to my house in desperate need of help. A damsel in distress, if you will.

I still remember the fateful day. It was a warm August afternoon, and the birds were singing, harbingers to the approaching events. I learned later that they were just being sarcastic, but at the time I actually thought they were happy. I was lounging on the porch, reading poetry.

Suddenly, the hideous grinding sound of steel on asphalt interrupted the birds, who rolled their eyes and flapped away. I almost did the same, until I noticed that the hideous noise had stopped in front of my lawn and that a driver of the fair sex was opening her door with the evident intention of approaching me. I hid my poetry under the porch and waited expectantly, trying to look buff and confident and knowledgeable but woefully aware of my helpless situation.

I said earlier that life is like an action movie. I should add a caveat. In an action movie, the damsel in distress always finds a hero who can solve all her problems. In real life, she has to be content with whatever the fates give her. Gentle (i.e. female) readers, you know this.

I stood up and shook hands with the Damsel, whom I shall henceforward call D. She said she was having trouble with her car. I told her I was glad, because it sounded like a hurricane and hurricanes are hard to fix. But cars are easy, I said. So easy that anyone could do it. She smiled at me, admiringly. I smiled back, nervously.

"So, um, do you need some tools or anything?" I asked. "What seems to be the problem?"

The girl just smiled again. I think she had taken some sarcasm lessons from the birds; I could see it in her eyes. But she was very sweet and polite. "I don't know. I was hoping you could tell me."

"Of course I can," I replied, and sauntered towards the car. (I am not good at sauntering in general, but this was one occasion that called for it.) "From the sound of it, D, I think you've got some structural problems. Probably more than mechanical but less than aesthetic. Or vice versa."

I walked around the car to open the hood and then thought better of it. Sometimes, to open a hood, you need to lift a little latch in the front of the car and it is hard to find. So instead, I threw myself down on the pavement and crawled underneath the vehicle. She couldn't see what I was doing down there. I peered around at all the black metal stuff, and reached my hands up into some of it so they would look greasy. Then I rolled up my sleeves. When I had been there long enough to arouse curiosity, I rolled out with a grimace.

"So, do you know what it is?"

I licked my lips and wiped my arm across my forehead, smearing the grease and the perspiration together quite picturesquely. "Just about. One more minute and I'll have it. You see, this part is... but no need to go into details." I dove under again.

This time I hit my head on a big slab of sharp metal. Disappointingly, it didn't draw blood. But in a strange turn of fortune, an idea entered my brain. That metal was part of the rear bumper, which had partially fallen off. There was no way to really fix it without a welding set or a screwdriver or some such drastic measure, but I knew the next best thing, and headed for the garage. D followed me with a quizzical look. I didn't know what to say, so I grunted and it seemed to work just as well. In the garage was a roll of duct tape, which I applied to the bumper-metal-piece-thingy until it was high enough above the pavement that the hurricane noises were avoided.

I then invited D inside for a drink, but she politely declined. Apparently, she didn't like Red Bull. Or maybe she just didn't want to share the last one with me. It doesn't really matter anyway. All I know is that as I rolled down my sleeves and watched the silent car speeding away, the birds started singing again. And this time, I knew what they meant.

Friday, January 02, 2009

FCN BC08 - N: "i like you"

I received a text message from an anonymous sender. It made it's point simply:

"i like you"

An acute sense of joy swept through my gizzard. Yes sir, somewhere out there in the big, cellular world, someone, who hopefully was a girl, liked me.

So I quickly replied with an equally short message:

"thanks who is this"

I figure I'll do the whole "I-am-too-cool-to-care-what-anyone-thinks-so-will-just-nod-in-your-general-direction-to-let-you-know-I-have-noticed-you" thing. That's what tough guys do, isn't it? You care by not caring. Yeah.

After a few minutes I received a reply:

"haha this is michelle jk itz a jok"


But at least Michelle cared enough to play a prank on me. She must like me a tiny bit. Maybe a tad? Who is Michelle? And what's with the z anyway?

And frankly, I can't afford to let something like this bother me. It takes a lot to get girls to like you. Yes sir, good ol' fashioned work. True, I don't get why she thinks tricking me is funny. Maybe if I pretend like I don't care, she will like me more. So I'll do the whole "I-am-too-jock-to-care-what-anyone-thinks-so-will-just-nod-in-your-general-direction-to-let-you-know-I-have-noticed-you" thing. I can be a good sport. Literally.

"lol np"

Sent. So I sit and wait. I'm not sure what I hope she will say. But maybe it will make me feel better. Besides, if she actually replies, that means she actually cares enough to send me three messages out of her 850 texts a day. Not including replies.

So eventually my phone buzzes.

"ya my friendz took my phn"

My phone buzzes again. Apparently it's the second half of the message.

"they sent you that msg srry ttyl"

It's bad to find out a love text is actually a joke on you. It's even worse to realize the wasted minute count paid by yours truly is a prank on someone else. Yes sir, life is tough.

Seriously, I should feel sorry for myself. Besides, doing the whole "I-am-too-emo-to-care-what-anyone-thinks-so-will-just-nod-in-your-general-direction-to-let-you-know-I-have-noticed-you" thing is amazingly self-gratifying. Self-pity is all the rage. And everyone knows chicks dig emo guys.